Donald (Don) Chamberlin photo

Professional Interests

Contact Information

Donald (Don) Chamberlin
IBM Fellow Emeritus


Employment History

Summary of Accomplishments

  • 2009-present: Emeritus
    Learning, teaching, mentoring

  • 1999-2008: XML Standards
    Served as IBM representative on the W3C XML Query Working Group and as principal editor of specifications for the XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 languages. With Jonathan Robie and Daniela Florescu, designed the Quilt language which became the basis for the design of XQuery. XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 became W3C Recommendations in 2007. XQuery now has many implementations and is widely used in electronic commerce, data integration, and other web-based applications.

  • 1991-1999: Relational Databases, DB2
    Conducted database research and transfer of technology into the DB2 line of relational database products. Responsible for SQL grammar, design of catalog tables, and function resolution algorithms. Participated in design of object-relational functionality for DB2, including abstract data types, SQL-bodied functions, and table hierarchies. Wrote two successful books on DB2, focusing on application development.

  • 1980-1990: Document Editing and Formatting
    Managed research in advanced desktop publishing. Developed an interactive document formatting system that was used by the IBM Systems Journal and offered by IBM as a software product. Explored research issues including editing of active objects, rule-based pagination, and WYSIWYG user interfaces. Developed an architecture for a system of cooperating, specialized editors for text, graphics, images, tables, and mathematics. Demonstrated feasibility of an editor that supports user interaction with logical and physical views of a document.

  • 1971-1979: SQL, System R
    Co-inventor of SQL, the world's most widely-used database language. SQL was the first relational database language to be commercially successful, and the first to take a unified approach to data definition, manipulation, and control. SQL was adopted as an ANSI and ISO Standard in 1986, and the Standard was updated in 1992, 1999, and 2003. SQL products have been implemented by every major database vendor. Also served as one of the managers of the System R project, which produced the first SQL implementation and developed much of IBM's relational database technology. System R developed the world's first cost-based query optimizer and demonstrated that a single database system can handle both high-volume online transactions and ad-hoc decision support queries.

Summary of Publications

  • Two books, two book chapters, four international standards (editor), one encyclopedia article, three conference tutorials, more than 50 journal and conference publications, two oral histories (Click here for details.)

Honors and Awards

Teaching Experience

ACM Programming Contest

Professional Affiliations

  • ACM (Fellow)
  • IEEE (Fellow)